Apple opened its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) yesterday, and it certainly was a busy event giving us a glimpse at the highly-anticipated macOS Ventura, iOS 16, the M2 chip, a new MacBook Air, and much more. Here are the key announcements in case you missed it:
Apple has announced iOS 16, and the update brings a totally revamped and customizable lock screen interface which lets you add custom wallpapers, change the date and time’s font and color, as well as add new widgets for weather, activity rings, calendar events, and more. Apple is also pushing updates to notifications and its Focus feature.
iOS 16 brings Live Activities that let you pin and manage notifications, like live sports scores, on your lock screen and is also introducing hideable notifications that appear at the bottom of the lock screen. It’s also getting in on the “buy now, pay later” trend that lets you make a purchase and pay it in a series of instalments. The new Pay Later feature is coming to Apple Pay with iOS 16.
Updated MacOS – Ventura
Improvements to the Mail app, camera software updates, and increased productivity capabilities will all be included in the next MacOS, called Ventura.
The biggest new feature is Stage Manager. It’s an overhaul of Mission Control, that you enable from the Command Center (and can disable if you choose to). Whereas Mission Control showed all running apps on the screen, Stage Manager keeps your currently-opened app in focus and bunches the other apps by category to the side.
The powerful M2 chip will be installed in a brand new MacBook Air that has been created around it. The new Air is 11.3 inches thick, weighs 2.7 pounds, and has a 13.6-inch liquid Retina display with a Magsafe charging system. A headphone jack is also included. The MacBook Air will be available in grey, gold, silver, and blue for $1,199. The price of a MacBook Pro starts at $1,299. Both laptops will be accessible in July.
WatchOS 9 was also previewed at Apple WWDC, and it will bring four new watch faces while Workout app has been updated to display more info and metrics. Apple has added a number of new health-tracking features such as new running metrics, atrial fibrillation tracking, and medication reminders.
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “The release of iOS 16 promises the ability to customise the phone’s lock screen to an incredible degree, allowing users to change every aspect of the look of their screen. The new Live Activities feature also helps to avoid being bombarded with notifications.
“Letting users have different lock screens for different purposes like work or personal is an interesting idea, and highlights notifications that are appropriate to the current setting.
“Introducing the ability to edit and delete messages you’ve just sent could be a godsend, especially for those times you’ve sent your boss a text meant for your partner – taking a page out of the Slack playbook.
“The new dictation features look powerful, but are another example of a ‘new’ Apple feature that users of Samsung phones have been enjoying for several years.
“Apple Pay Later is a timely update to the wallet amid the cost-of-living crisis, and will allow users to spread large purchases over four smaller interest-free payments.
“The latest updates to WatchOS provide important improvements to help people use wearables to monitor their health. Sleep Stages will be a welcome addition for those looking to decode their sleeping patterns, something which has not previously been available through Apple-owned apps.
“The AFib history feature will now allow people suffering from atrial fibrillation to share their data with healthcare professionals. The new Medications app also helps people keep track of the medicine they are taking and alerts them to any conflicts with certain prescriptions.
“The new MacBook Air integrates the camera into a ‘notch’ design which gives a wider display and puts the range in line with the MacBook Pro. The upgrade to a 1080p camera will make a big difference to the quality of video calls, as the Air has traditionally been weaker in this area.
“The new Macbook Air, along with an update to the MacBook Pro, gives us the first glimpse into the power of the next-generation M2 chip. That alone will cause many people considering a new MacBook to hold off until these devices hit the shelves.
“The M2 chip will boost performance, while also being more efficient and using less power. Its predecessor impressed us with the raw power it has delivered across Apple devices – only time will tell if its replacement is able to do the same with future launches.”